Who knew that a Tatooine farmboy would rise up from his humble beginnings to become one of the greatest defenders of net neutrality the galaxy has ever known?
But this is 2017, so we shouldn't expect anything less at this point. So please, pull up a chair while we unpack how actor Mark Hamill, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker, clapped back at Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a Twitter debate about ending net neutrality.
The backstory: Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal rules that protected net neutrality by barring internet service providers from slowing websites or charging premiums for specific sites. The FCC is led by longtime net neutrality critic Ajit Pai, who was appointed to the role by President Trump, so the vote was not entirely surprising.
Critics argue that the move to get rid of net neutrality favors big corporations, and have threatened to file lawsuits to try to slow or stop the process of deregulation. Artists, actors, and musicians have also argued that repealing net neutrality will hurt those in entertainment and other creative industries.
In what would otherwise have been completely unrelated news, the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, was released Friday and everyone was really excited about it, including one of the film's stars, Mark Hamill. Hamill happens to be really good at Twitter and likes to chat with his fans, and has also occasionally tweeted things that make it clear he's not a fan of Trump.
The drama started Saturday when the actor tweeted a screenshot of a video Pai made about ending net neutrality, in which the FCC chairman is seen wielding a toy lightsaber. Hamill seemed to take offense at this, writing that "a Jedi acts selflessly for the common man" and not to "enrich giant corporations." He also used the hashtag #AJediYouAreNOT and a puke emoji.
It's also worth mentioning that the video Pai appeared in is super bizarre, and features the FCC chairman dancing the "Harlem Shake" with a woman who pushes the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. In the Star Wars–inspired scene of the video, Pai wears a hoodie and brandishes the toy lightsaber, explaining that "you can still stay part of your fave fandom" as the Star Wars theme plays in the background.
Then on Sunday, Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, tweeted back at Hamill (although he misspelled his username), comparing net neutrality to the dark side. "Luke, I know Hollywood can be confusing, but it was Vader who supported government power over everything said and done on the Internet," Cruz wrote. "That's why giant corps (Google, Facebook, Netflix) supported the FCC power grab of net neutrality."
Despite Cruz's misspelling, Hamill still managed to respond. "Thanks for smarm-spaining it to me @tedcruz I know politics can be confusing, but you'd have more credibility if you spelled my name correctly," the actor tweeted. "I mean IT'S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU!" He then suggested that perhaps Cruz was distracted because he was watching porn, referencing the infamous moment when the senator's Twitter account was caught liking a tweet featuring a two-minute porn video.
Cruz, however, was undeterred, and responded by accusing Hamill of responding "not with facts, but with anger."
As of Sunday night, Hamill had not yet responded — with The Last Jedi opening to a debut of $220 million at the North American box office, it's not like he didn't have other things going on this weekend. The actor did, however, make a mental note to spell his Twitter insults better in 2018.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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